Nokia smartphones are back, and with it the Finnish company is back under the spotlight. Apart from smartphones though, the company is also reportedly working on its own voice-activated virtual assistant, which could be integrated into its future launches.
Nokia has reportedly filed a trademark in the EU for the name ‘Viki’. Spotted by GSMInfo, Viki is described in the trademark as a “software for the creation and monitoring of mobile and web assistants working with digital knowledge and combining all data sources into a single chat and voice-based interface.” Though it doesn’t explicitly mention the words virtual assistant, the description is pretty clear at what Viki will be.
With Viki integrated into its smartphones, Nokia could be going up against established players like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant. Even Amazon’s Alexa will soon be arriving on smartphones, with Huawei promising its next flagship device for US will be integrated with Amazon’s personal assistant.
If reports are to be believed, Samsung too is working on a virtual assistant for its upcoming Galaxy S8. The South Korean company has acquired Viv Labs, which incidentally boasts creators of Siri. Samsung has been granted trademarks for the names ‘Bixby’ and ‘Kestra’, which are heavily speculated to be male and female alter egos of the assistant. Bixby and Kestra are said to be more advanced than S Voice and deeply integrated with Samsung’s own suite of apps.
With Google Assistant not expected to roll out on all Android smartphones, it is hardly surprising to see why Nokia maybe working on its own personal assistant. Personal assistants have add a new level of interactions, where you don’t really have to pick up or touch the smartphones. While Cortana and Siri are still pretty much restricted in their interactions, Google Assistant feels quite futuristic in the way one can have a conversation with it. It will be interesting to see just where Viki stands, and what smartphones will come with this feature. Leaks suggest HMD Global will launch six to seven Nokia-branded smartphones this year.
Over the weekend, we were treated to the first smartphone, called Nokia 6. The Android Nougat smartphone features a 5.5-inch 1080p display with 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top, Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB onboard storage with microSD card slot. The smartphone also features a 16-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel selfie camera, 3,000mAh battery, and support for Dolby ATMOS audio.
The Nokia 6 is however restricted to China, and will be going on sale later this year on JD.com. It is priced at RMB 1,699 (approximately Rs 16,700).